Ban on JUI-F's Ansarul Islam infructuous: IHC

How can an organisation be banned when it does not legally exist, questions IHC chief justice


Saqib Bashir October 28, 2019
Ansarul Islam activist hold the Pakistani and their party flags as they prepare for Azadi March in Peshawar on October 13, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday termed the recent government decision to ban Jamaat-e-Ulema-i-Islami-Fazl (Fazl) subordinate organisation Ansarul Islam infructuous.

The single-judge bench presided by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, while hearing a petition challenging Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s decision, summoned the interior ministry to explain how the federal government could ban an organisation that does not exist on paper.

 

JUI-F counsel Kamran Murtaza informed the high court that while JUI-F was registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as a political party, Ansarul Islam was not a ‘private militia’ as stated by the government but a subordinate of Jamaat-e-Ulema-Islami (JUI) that has been operating since the era of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Justice Minallah said if the Ansarul Islam workers were members of a political party then the notification to ban them was infructuous. When he noted that the Ansarul Islam workers held ‘sticks’ in their hands, Murtaza said the sticks were part of the flags.

The political party's counsel further informed the bench that the federal government had issued a notification without first giving Ansarul Islam an audience.

The chief justice questioned how the federal government could ban an organisation that does not legally exist. “What happens if the Ansarul Islam workers wear a white dress instead of khaki?” asked the justice as he questioned the technicality of the notification and observed that the interior ministry should have sought an explanation from the party over it.

The high court then adjourned the case hearing till tomorrow.

JUI-F leader Mufti Kifayatullah arrested ahead of Azadi March

The ban on Ansarul Islam

Ahead of the JUI-F led Azadi March, the PTI government banned Ansarul Islam and empowered provinces to take action against it under Section 2 of the Private Military Organisations (Abolition and Prohibition) Act, 1974.

The notification said the federal government had "reasons to believe that Ansar-ul-Islam is capable of functioning as a military organisation, in violation of the prohibition contained in Article 256 of the Constitution".

 

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